The Dyslexic Indian Bipolar

Before the year ends, I need to declare and claim this!!!

2020 is the year that I have come to the realisation that I am dyslexic — its only taken forever to get here, a lifetime!


Thanks to BT for holding internal neurodiversity events the latter part of 2020, at the ‘Diversity & Inclusion Guild’ and ‘Accessibility Community’, that had me really thinking about my life struggles from childhood to present and why I am a certain way — the neurodivergent differences resonated with me and my experiences all makes sense now — felt like I was missing the whole base of the puzzle but now I have categorised it, pigeon-holed it.

Speaking up

The. Time. Is. Now. Time to protect my mental health. Time to grow…

Dyslexia — Facts and figures:

The word Dyslexia means ‘difficulty with words’.

My speaking, reading, writing, and memory struggles:

  • Not able to pronounce some words.
  • I lack ‘Declarative Memory’, I find it hard to recall the right words, names, information, so a long pause may occur. People with autism also have a hard time remembering events. Check out types of memories.
  • Not able to articulate myself when I know what I have done with a piece of work, explaining something or an experience in detail and unable to answer competency-based interview questions.
  • I cannot relay or remember full instructions. If two questions were asked, I forget the first or the second question in the process of trying to remember the other one and then would go blank.
  • Not able to cohesively speak fluently sometimes.
  • For the above reasons, I would cut myself short, not elaborate or say the wrong things, which is really frustrating — I beat myself up for it, a lot.
  • I skip words / lines when reading, and sometimes miss out words when writing. Sometimes I cannot remember or explain what I’ve just read.
  • I cannot pronounce Vs and get mixed up with my Ws in pronunciations — try reading this:

Life events all piece together now:

  • I was convinced something was wrong with me so booked an MRI brain scan in 2016.
  • I spend ages at eye tests— I can see it, however, my left eye is a bit weaker with making out the smaller alphanumeric characters. Even Specsavers get annoyed that I could not see what they wanted me to see. In 2017, I was referred to an ophthalmologist due to Glaucoma / Ocular Hypertension. Now I am thinking maybe dyslexia was part of it.
  • I find teletext really useful — helps me catch up and process what was said. Also helps with expanding vocabulary.
  • I remember copying my friends work in school — teachers did not pick this up. All I needed was extra time to work out what to do.
  • I struggled with maths since childhood, known as Dyscalculia.
  • I was late at reading and talking properly — I remember once reading to the class, and thought I did well, now thinking about it I was aged, 13/14 — very late — neurotypical people learn to read a good few years before that.
  • I spend ages writing emails to ensure there are no spelling or grammar issues— I over iterate, just like this article and write more than I speak as I know my speech will fail me sometimes.
  • I changed my Uni course from ‘Business and Finance’ to Digital Art with Multiple-Media Computing. Read about my analogue childhood.
  • Over the years, I have taken numerous speaking and presenting workshops as well as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) sessions.
  • I learn to drive on a manual car but when I drive my father’s automatic car, I just cannot remember how to start it so have written instructions even though I have driven it many times. I sometimes get my left and right mixed up.
  • I always take a notebook to meetings. Richard Branson is dyslexic too and habitually takes a notebook for that reason — the notes are so useful later on to trigger what was said, otherwise some of that data is lost forever.
  • I bailed out of a live company-wide internal BT event, due to nerves, insecurities, not being able to control what I say or pronounce words, looking silly, fear of making mistakes and people judging me flaws.

My Dyslexia Cons:

  • Self-sabotage
  • Low-self esteem
  • Self-doubt
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Bipolar / Depression
  • Sensitive to people’s remarks
  • Pessimistic about everything
  • Comparing myself to others
  • Constantly beat myself up
  • Vulnerability
  • Not getting my point across
  • Have to work so much harder to validate my self-worth, just to be on par and match neurotypical people / colleagues.

My Dyslexia Pros:

  • I over analyse to make sense of things and end up finding errors.
  • I have layout, symmetry and spacing complexes.
  • I like content to be simple, short and broken down. Colours need to have good contrast to focus. Don’t like bright colours on the website as it takes away my focus on the actual text. This helps with my current content design role, maybe that’s why I have such an affinity to digital accessibility.
  • I think with the right side of the brain more, so can find different solutions.
  • Not good at arguing with good points or debating. You win!
  • I enjoy problem-solving, but sometimes takes time to understand it first.
  • I have Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I am super organised — physical clutter or too much information feels like noise and my mind cannot focus.
  • I organise email and desktop folders diligently, my iPhone is categorised on one screen…
  • Good way for me to remember something is to associate meaning to the memory or associate visuals to it. For example, to remember whose who when it comes to Ant and Dec — I have memorised that ‘Ant is not the little one’. Strange way to remember but it works.

Indian Female / Asian culture

Being an Indian female, I feel I have to work even harder to prove myself with all my insecurities and mental flaws so I go that extra mile to feel worthy and useful in society, to grow that belief in my abilities. At the same time I have conflicting thoughts of ‘have you seen my work’, ‘my experience’, ‘what I have done’… but then go back to my pessimistic mind. Ambition vs Pessimism is definitely a conflict of interest — I am constantly fighting it.

Bipolar / Depression

Being Bipola can mean sometimes getting out of bed is too much or thoughts are ‘whats the point of doing anything, I’m still going to feel the same’. This occurs when the dopamine (motivation/pleasure) and serotonin (wellbeing/happiness) neurotransmitters levels tend to be low.

My Childhood

I was quiet, introvert and shy as a child — I thought this is why I cannot pronounce my words properly or speak cohesively. I am unable to elaborate and articulate myself fully — this is really frustrating — leads to depression, self-sabotaging thoughts, feeling sorry for myself and the common imposter syndrome is all consuming. That emotional chimp really does not help either.

The left brain is the logical, mathematical and language skills side.

It’s the creative right brain that’s more active for me, therefore, as I mentioned trying to retrieve information, solve maths calculations, and speaking properly seems to hinder access in the left brain areas.

The left brain — comparing dyslexic and non-dyslexic brains.
The left and the right brain comparison
The left and the right brain comparison
The left and the right brain hemispheres

I have a penchant for neuroscience and psychological films.

Limitless, 2011

“Facing unemployment and his girlfriend’s rejection, writer Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is sure that he has no future. That all changes when an old friend gives him a drug that produces enhanced mental acuity…”
— from the Limitless trailer.

Bradley Cooper in Limitless
Bradley Cooper once he has taken the Limitless drug / NZT pill. The mind is activated.
Gattaca film poster

Gattaca, 1997

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.” IMDb

So don’t focus on the flaws — focus on your strengths!

I leave you with a Queen song, We Are The Champions!
The song is about triumph — acknowledging the struggles and overcoming adversity, emerging victorious from trials and tribulations.
“But it’s been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise…
We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions”

Elusive Ambivert. Dyslexic. Partial to the sky, George Michael, coffee, dePRESSiON, supercars, neuroscience, films 🎬 | Get Accessible with 🚀